Martin Jay Weiss has won Amazon Studios first $20,000.00 screenplay award for his action thriller, The Alchemist Agenda, a story about a nautical treasure hunter who sets out on an international pursuit to discover the formula to alchemy with a beautiful professor who has a secret agenda of her own.
The panel of judges serving Amazon were Bryan Singer, The Usual Suspects; Ivan Reitman, Ghostbusters; Jack Epps Jr.,Top Gun and Dick Tracy; Mark Gill, former head of Miramax; Mike Werb, The Mask and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; Michael Taylor, Bottle Rocket and The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper, to name a few.
EXCLUSIVE: Amazon Studio’s December $20,000 Script Contest Winners: The Alchemist Agenda and Villain
by Anne Thompson
January 27, 2011 7:51 AM
Thompson on Hollywood
Amazon Studios chief Roy Price is thrilled with the first phase of his radical online movie studio experiment. So many submissions came in the first month, more than 2500, that he opened up a December script contest and his panel of judges has picked the first two winners: Richard Stern for action comedy Villain, about a bad guy who decides to switch sides, which also earned the most responses online, and Martin Jay Weiss of the rollicking international mystery adventure The Alchemist Agenda. “It’s Fool’s Gold meets the Da Vinci Code,” says Price. “Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt should definitely check this one out.” Both winners will collect a $20,000 prize and can move on to the next phase of the Amazon Studios competition: test shorts and table reads.
Amazon Studios Announces First Winners; New Collaboration Rules
Amazon Studios today announced its first winners: Two $20,000 Best Script awards to “The Alchemist Agenda” by Marty Weiss of Los Angeles and “Villain,” by Richard Stern of Roswell, Georgia. The winners were chosen from more than 2,500 scripts uploaded by writers worldwide since the November 2010 launch of Amazon Studios. Judges for the December contest included screenwriter Mike Werb (Face/Off, The Mask) and screenwriting authority Linda Seger (How to Make a Good Script Great).
“We’re very proud of the enthusiastic reception Amazon Studios has received, of all 3,000 scripts that are now on the site and now of our first winners,” said Roy Price, director of Amazon Studios. “It’s great to bring attention to some of the best talent at Amazon Studios. We look forward now to filmmakers turning our best scripts into test movies for our $100,000 test movie prizes.”
Meet Amazon Studios’ first winners: One lives in Hollywood, one on the opposite end of the United States. Both studied film. Both are dads who adore their kids. Both appreciate the chance to share their stories with the world.
Martin Jay Weiss, Best Script winner for The Alchemist Agenda
For some directors, it would feel like a lot, maybe even enough: making award-winning ad campaigns, directing a couple of TV movies.But Marty Weiss knew he still wanted more. He still wanted to do what he’d set out to do back when he was getting his MFA in TV and Film at New York University. He wanted to make major motion pictures.
“I did a couple of genre films,” Weiss said. “ But the only way to make a better movie is to write it yourself. It’s so competitive and so hard, especially in today’s Hollywood. … Mid-level movies have totally gotten squashed. Everything is based on comic books or books, or really inexpensive but with no distribution.”
One of the screenplays he came up with ended up winning him $20,000 in the first Amazon Studios script contest. It’s called The Alchemist Agenda, and it’s the story of a maritime adventurer who discovers a U-boat full of gold – and secrets. The story takes our hero and his ally, a female former Mossad agent turned professor, from Amsterdam to Prague to Venice. “The locations are places that I shot commercials,” Weiss said. “I did this campaign for Renault that was so much fun. It was a little story of a guy getting stood up at the altar, getting his friends and going from country to country chasing after the rock-star bride. … It was a great way to travel and see Europe.”